Four story building on tap this Thursday at City Hall

Joan Enger, wife of Kyle Enger spoke at the City Council’s meeting previous on her family’s attempt to build a four story structure on lower Park.  After winning unanimous approval from the Zoning Board, they find themselves delayed by an appeal by Hoboken resident Dan Tumpson.  Apparently Mr. Tumpson lives on the same block where the building would be erected and is actually on the fifth floor two doors away in a five story, ten unit building.  The Engers are attempting to obtain approval again to erect a four story building, 10 feet below where Dan lives. The delay has cost them untold thousands to this point.

Here’s a video of Joan’s speech to the City Council.  With a hearing to the City Council after the approval by the Hoboken Zoning Board scheduled for this Thursday, the Corporation Counsel Michael Kates stated it should not be given weight with the hearing just around the corner.  Still it’s worth a look into the arcane process of what a Hoboken resident can be put through in time and cost to erect a four story 40 foot structure even when many of similar specs are approved and moving to completion.  How many people have lost work or will lose work still to satisfy the objection of a fifth floor resident who doesn’t want a building ten feet lower two doors away?

The complete transcipt of Joan Enger’s remarks are available at the jump.

Joan Enger/502 Garden St. – speech delivered to City Council on March 10th, 2010
I come to you this evening, as both a citizen and a taxpayer of Hoboken, in addition to having an obvious vested interest in the property under appeal, 226 Park St. 
I’d like to think of myself as the type of citizen and neighbor who considers all of the circumstances and differences before reacting to a situation.  However it seems that the ‘squeaky wheels’ – the same people who continually stand before you concerning swing sets, trees and field turf, often in voices far louder than most, have managed to challenge a UNANIMOUS approval that was granted on October 20th, 2009 by the Zoning Board – to build a routine 4 story, 4 unit residential building.
As I lay awake most evenings thinking about this, I ask myself a few questions.  As a citizen, how does this impact Hoboken? 
In a time when the City Council has major issues to focus on:
. An unresolved city budget
. Soaring taxes and expenses
. A city-owned hospital near bankruptcy
. A well regarded charter school with an uncertain future
. The loss of Sinatra Field
. The shortage of open recreational space
…I find it completely irresponsible of our opponents to be diverting the city’s time and resources on an issue that truly is the equivalent of a neighborhood squabble.  If this property were not on Dan Tumpson’s block – would I  be standing before you this evening?  I can name at least THREE other properties within 200 feet that requested and were granted the variances that are being appealed by Mr. Thumpson.  110 Willow Avenue, 259 2nd Street, 207 2nd Street, etc.
How can the city set a precedent, grant other builders these variances, and then even consider turning over the approvals from Zoning that were granted after a costly and arduous 12 months. 
We are talking about 1 story, and 1 unit here.  Does this 10 feet of vertical space really impact Dan and companies life in a detrimental way?  I say no! 
Kyle Enger and I are responsible, contributing members of this community who have lived in Hoboken for over 14 years.  When a U-8 girls soccer team did not exist, Kyle worked hard to collect enough girls to form a team.  Now we have enough girls for TWO teams.  When a youth basketball team did not exist for our son Andrew, Kyle formed a team to include not only Stevens children, but the overflow from the REC teams.  When we couldn’t find a suitable, consistent practice space, Kyle donated the overhead lights to the YMCA so the space could become usable.  When the library did not continue Novel Night in 2009, Kyle and I decided to open up our home and invite 100 of our dear friends to raise almost $9000 for the children’s department. 
We are dedicated to this town.  We are also committed to delivering well-designed, high-quality, fairly priced housing to ATTRACT & SUSTAIN young families to our community.  These young families are the future of our growing community!  Additionally, these units provided revenues to our bottom line.  Are we saying that our city couldn’t use the money? 
This attempt to block the construction of this approved project is based on personal agendas.  We live in a city!  Yes, we live on top of one another and sometimes the development happens next door.  When Kyle and I re-built our house at  502 Garden, many of the neighbors on the block were nervous and concerned about the unknown.  Those same people come up to us now thankful that we improved the neglected site that stood there for years and in truth, improved the value of their properties. 
. Our opponent claims the building will be too high (40 Feet), yet he lives in a building on the same block that is one story higher.
.  He claims the building has too many units, yet he lives in a building on the same block that has TEN units.
As I consider the impact this has to my family PERSONALLY – it is huge.  We purchased the property almost two years ago under the assumption that we would begin construction within a few months.  This assumption was not just a hunch – it was based on professional opinions, fact gathering and examples of similar projects within our radius.  Tens of thousands of dollars later, I cannot believe this small project has received so much attention. 
It is pretty simple, if we do not build the extra floor, our family will suffer serious financial losses AND the property will need to be built in such a way that Kyle and I would never be proud of.  As an interior designer, and Kyle and Anthony Sabia as the builders – we take great pride in the aesthetics of our work.  But if we know off the bat that we are taking a huge loss – our goal will be to get in and out as quickly as possible.  We don’t want to do this – and we don’t believe that you would want this type of construction for Hoboken as well. 
We believe in Hoboken, we believe in smart development and we believe this council will make the right decision for our community.
We urge the council to dismiss the appeal and focus on the important issues and opportunities of this great city.
Thank you. 

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